Author Surprised By Reaction To Internet Study

    November 29, 2007

IT research company Nemertes Research created a stir about the future of the Internet when it published a study about the capacity of the Internet in the coming years.

The study found that in three to five years that Internet capacity will be reached unless carriers spend billions to fix the problem. Reaction to the study generated headlines including "Internet Blackouts Predicted by 2010" and "Internet Facing Meltdown."

Johna Till Johnson, co- author of the report and president of Nermertes research told PC World, "I had no idea it would get spun this way, twisted this way. I’ve read all sorts of interesting stuff that bears little relation to the truth, but people seem to be basing it on the study."

"We explicitly are not saying the Internet’s going to break," she says. She said the company should have thought about the reaction from Internet lobby groups who she says put their own negative angle on the report. "They really failed to see that it’s entirely straightforward to build their case [for supporting the Internet] around the findings, which were intentionally policy-neutral."

The study estimates that service providers will have to spend between $42 billion to $55 billion in the U.S. to seal the gap between demand and capacity primarily on broadband access, which is about 60 to 70 percent more than the $72 billion service providers are already planning to invest.

"It’s important to stress that failing to make that investment will not cause the Internet to collapse," the report’s executive summary adds. Instead problems accessing the Web will "throttle innovation" by companies creating the next YouTube or Google.